BOOKS ON SCIENCE AND SKEPTICISM - by
Milton A. Rothman has
written three books which together cover the physics and
philosophy underlying the practice of
skepticism with regard to the paranormal,
pseudoscience, UFOs, faster-than-light
travel, psychic experiences, and other
manifestations of popular culture.
These books may not change the minds of
those who are already "true believers,"
but they are helpful in pointing
students who have not yet made up their
minds in the direction of critical
DISCOVERING THE NATURAL
was first published by Doubleday & Co. in 1972.
It was reprinted by Dover Publications in 1989. (ISBN 0-486-26178-6)
deals with the fundamental laws of nature as understood by an experimental
physicist. It answers the age-old question "How do we know what
we know -- and
how accurately do we know it?" It discusses both the classical
experiments verifying the law of gravitation, the laws of motion, the
conservation laws, the principle of relativity, and so on. In
all cases it
seeks to bring out how accurately all of these laws are known.
A new chapter,
added in the 1989 edition, applies this knowledge to the field of skepticism.
A PHYSICIST'S GUIDE TO SKEPTICISM
was published by Prometheus Books in 1988.
(ISBN 0-87975-440-0) This book is a thorough application
of the laws of
physics to topics of interest in the field of skepticism. How
do we know
perpetual motion is impossible? How do we know you can't make
energy out of
nothing? We learn that the laws of nature are of two kinds:
Permission and Laws of Denial. Laws of Permission tell us what
kind of actions
nature allows. Laws of Denial tell us what kind of actions nature
allow. We find that it is easier to say what is impossible than
possible. We learn about verification and falsification, and
we learn what is
a proper theory.
THE SCIENCE GAP:
DISPELLING THE MYTHS AND UNDERSTANDING
THE REALITY OF SCIENCE
was published by Prometheus Books in 1992. (ISBN 0-87975-710-8)
This book is
more philosophical in nature than the other two, and contains no equations.
Each chapter has a title that describes a myth -- a belief that considered
by many people, but which are in reality quite false.
"Nothing exists until it is observed."
"Nothing is known for sure."
"Nothing is impossible."
"Whatever we think we know now is likely to be overturned in the
"Advanced civilization on other planets possess great forces unavailable
"All theories are equal."
. . . . etcetera, etcetera.
While you may think it is obvious that all the above statements are
some famous scientists have subscribed to a few of them, so it is not
of time to think seriously and critically about them. The
following review was
written of this book:
THE SCIENCE GAP
Dispelling the Myths and Understanding the Reality
Milton A. Rothman
....At a time when there is an ever-widening
gap between what the expert knows and what the average person believes,
this accessible volume clearly explains the scientific facts and concepts
that are indispensible for an understanding of our material universe. Milton
Rothman examines sixteen standard myths about the nature of science, demonstrating
that much of what passes for logical argumentation consists of the repetition
of cliches and current folklore.
"I expect every reader will object to one or more of Rothman's
statements. But no matter which side of the debate you find yourself on,
Rothman's discussion is stimulating and brings life to the iscourse
about the philosophy of science." Astronomy
". . . the book will be a valuable resource for educators and
students . . ."
The Science Teacher
"The book is to the point, easily read and highly logical.
It will be of great help, and is recommended, to those who wish to
dispel myths and enter the debate between science and superstition. It
should occupy one's library as a reference to be used in the refutation
of nonsense." The American Rationalist
". . . extraordinary volume. . . . so clear is the exposition
that both the novice and the self-styled expert can benefit from its demolition
of the widespread fallacies concerning both the physical universe and the
community of scientists who observe, explore, and explain it. . . . For
that has grown up with 'Star Trek', an immense library of
science fiction, and media that entertain
rather than educate, this book will be harsh but desperately needed
therapy. . . . The National Science Foundation would be well advised to
put a copy of this book in every high school and college." Science
Books & Films
"Very clearly written, well footnoted, with a useful index.
. ." Choice
PAGES: 254 pp COMMENTS: (Index) ISBN: 0-87975-710-8 BINDING:
$31.95 SIZE: 6 x 9 CATEGORY: Popular Science
more information from Milton:
More Free Energy
and Hot Air
-article by Milt published in PHACTUM
/ Skeptical Briefs / June 1995 / Reality Check / No More Mister Nice Guy
- article by Milton
milt is known to correspond from the PhACTboard
this page is posted by Eric